The national leadership of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has ordered its members to go to work two days a week until the federal government accedes to their demand for a 200 percent pay raise.
COESU said the directive became necessary because of the difficulty of members of the union to get to work as a result of the hike in the price of petrol.
COEASU National President, Dr. Smart Olugbeko, disclosed this shortly after the union’s extraordinary meeting held in Abuja.
“The implementation of removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government two months ago raised the price of a litre of petrol by 250%.
“This worsened the inflationary rate on the cost of transportation, food and other essential commodities and impoverished the Nigerian people. Workers, including staff of Colleges of Education, kept faith with Government and chose to endure the untold hardship thinking it would be only for a while as Government promised to roll out palliative measures including significant increase in salaries.
According to him “the present salary of staff of Colleges of Education was approved in the year 2010 – 13 years ago! This means we have been on the same salary since 2010 while petrol price rose intermittently from N65/N70 in 2010 to N650 in 2023 (tenfold increase).
“Our salary structure which is subject to renegotiation at 3-year interval has remained static for 13 years, skipping four due renegotiations. It is ludicrous that Government has refused to return to the negotiation table on the welfare package for staff after the Union, prior to the removal of fuel subsidy, had proposed 200% increase in salary as against Government offer of a ridiculous 35% for Chief Lecturers and 23% for other cadres.
He noted that the capabilities of members of COESU to sustain hope were already exhausted, the price of petrol rose further to N650 per litre.
“Now, the leadership of the Union has been inundated by members’ complaints that they could no longer go to work as a result of hike in the price of petrol and resultant high cost of transportation.
“Against this backdrop, it has become inevitable for the Union to direct members to go to work only two days weekly while an emergency NEC meeting shall be convened to ratify this decision and decide on the specific days of the week members are to go to work.